Sunday, August 7, 2011

45 Min. Colorblocked T-Shirt Dress DIY Tutorial

After seeing this Petit Bateau t-shirt dress in the pages of In Style, I became inspired to do a variation of my colorblocked maxi dress.  And this one went by much quicker, only 45 minutes from beginning to end!  The great thing about this is that you don't have to do any hemming / making sleeves / finishing the collar because you're using all pre-existing materials that come with these components finished!

Petit Bateau Short-Sleeved Tee Dress
(currently sold out, but see link here)
My DIY version - Aqua, Pink Coral,
and Black

See tutorial after the jump:

What You'll Need:
  • An old t-shirt of yours that fits well (this will be your top block)
  • One of hubby's old t-shirts (this will be your bottom block)
  • Knit fabric or another knit garment (this will be your middle block)
  • Scissors or rotary cutter + mat

Step 1:  Choose the colors you'd like in your dress and find the corresponding old tees / knits.  I used an old aqua t-shirt of mine, some pink coral knit fabric (I didn't have any similar colored tees I could sacrifice), and one of hubby's old black t-shirts.

Step 2:  Try on your old tee and mark it (I used blue chalk which is conveniently covered by my SPG watermark in the middle - oops) a little under your bust.  Cut at this line and the top block is now done!

Step 3:  Now you're going to move to the bottom block using your hubby's tee.  You'll want to make sure to use one that is either solid colored or has a design only at the top portion of the tee.  I cut the bottom 13" of his tee off.  Bottom block complete!

Step 4:  Try your top and bottom blocks on and measure how long you'd like your middle block to be.  I used 18 inches to accommodate my baby bump and wound up with an 18 x 60" rectangle.  

Step 5:  Lay all your blocks in order.  You'll want to taper your middle block to transition smoothly between your top and bottom blocks.  Your top block should be relatively small and your bottom block wider to give your dress an A-line shape.  Now sew!

Step 6:  Try on your dress and slim the sides if needed.  

You're finished!  Easy peasy, right?

Dress:  DIY Colorblocked T-Shirt Dress
Necklace:  Apt. 9 from Kohl's
Belt:  Cole Haan Croc-embossed
Bag:  "Charlotte" Vintage Messenger
Shoes:  Indigo by Clarks 
Sunnies:  Gucci

On an unrelated note, I have no idea what to do with my face in blog pictures since I'm so used to just cutting my head off.  I'm sure I just look grumpy but it's really just me being clueless.  Any tips?  Grinning ear to ear seems like it'd be weird?


  1. There's no reason not to grin ear to ear. I promise we won't find you weird if you do. I like this idea to use up ratty old tees. You look like the cutest momma to be (well, to a second baby).

    1. Surely you'll just look as if you're wearing a ratty old dress?

  2. LOL- I usually grin from ear to ear in my pics so I say even if I look silly doing it- I can't help it..hehehehe

    I am liking these full head/body shots SPG! Keep them coming please!

  3. I like ur recent shots with head! I actually feel like we have similar hairstyle!! Yay! Love this idea of colorblock!

  4. Just look like you look in regular non-blog photos! And a smile that covers half your face will look absolutely great, I'm sure of it!

    This tutorial seems so straight forward! I love the idea of being able to reuse my sad old tees (I have a whole F21 collection from the time I was in high school) into something as stylish as this dress you made.

  5. Whatever smile feels right to you! And like Annie said...keep doing these full shots! :)

    I love your color choices!

  6. I wish I didn't already threw away all my old t-shirts, since I really want to try this color-block dresses of yours. It does seem easy-peasy as you say! And the result is such a cute dress! You can't go wrong with smiling for pictures, haha. Although I don't really smile in my pictures because I have a crooked gummy smile, so I try to do the closed-mouth smiling... I still don't know how to focus my eyes for pictures though without looking psychopathic, thus I tend to cover up my eyes with some logo when I can't get facial expression right :)

  7. i feel weird in pics, too! not sure whether to smile, looking "natural" certainly doesnt work, lol! this dress seems so simple, such a great idea!

  8. I am loving those full shots. It'll get easier each time though =) This is such a great idea. The dress looks soooo comfy.

  9. Your DIY dress looks great on you! I really want to try the DIY, except I seriously cannot sew in a straight line. Wah, wah, wah.

    Haha, I know what you mean re: what to do w/ your face. I'm also a fan of the closed mouth smile. Although I do tend to laugh a lot more when my husband takes my picture. ;D

    1. Practice and you can sew the straight stitch. No one could in the beginning.

  10. Haha, I grin from ear to ear! There is always your normal expression? Besides, I'm sure no one would fault you for being grumpy since you're pregnant ;)

    I think I like the silhouette of this dress but the color patterns from your previous one. But both look super comfortable, especially in this summer heat.

  11. Ahhh you look amazing! I seriously need to take sewing lessons so I can try out all your DIY's :)

  12. Grinning from ear to ear sounds good ; ) I have no idea what to do with my face either. LOL Do I smile? Open my mouth? Close it? omg haha

  13. I just saw your comment! You need to email me I can't seem to find your email address! No videos for me, I can't stand my voice on video - I sound like a valley girl (which I'm totally aware I really DO sound like a valley girl :P ) I have so much trouble just taking pictures I don't think I'm patient enough to shoot and edit a video ;)

  14. Nah you loom lovely and not grumpy at all!

  15. you look gorgeous hon!!! i love this idea.. it's like colorblock in one article of clothing.. well technically you created it with 3 articles. HAHAHA. ok i'm loosing sight of what i was trying to say.. but i really love how creative you are at putting things and creating new pieces of fabulous clothing!! articles that you can wear pregnant and not pregnant!!

  16. you look great in these pictures and i never know what to do with my face either. i just end up having a silly smile in every one of them, lol. and love the bright colors you chose for this colorblock dress!

    cute & little
    Etta Grace giveaway!

  17. I've actually left research for med school (will attend in 1.5 years, that is). Research is for the mighty people who don't mind monotonous routines, but I'm simply not one of them. I need a dynamic environment and looking at my precious bacteria every day just don't provide that. I want to be an infectious disease specialist - I get to keep the bacteria while dealing with humans. Best of both worlds.

  18. Jean - Aww, thank you for the sweet words :) I'll try out some different things and see which look best or feel the most natural.

    Annie - You never look silly! I'll definitely keep the full shots coming :)

    Fashion and Number - Your hair is MUCH cooler! Thank you!

    Anna - Haha, I usually avoid photographs! I'll have to figure something out - I'm liking the not making eye contact with the camera, it seems like it takes some pressure off. Hope you get to make something new out of your old tees!

    Michelle - Thank you! More full shots to come! :)

    Olyvia - At least you're not a crazy hoarder like me! ;) I can't seem to throw out / donate any clothing on the off chance I can use them for something else. My smile sometimes looks wonky - makes my face squinch up into giant chipmunk cheeks LOL.

    Amber - I think you always look so great in your photos - always relaxed and natural looking!

    Sydney - Thank you! It is definitely super comfy, stretchy knits are definitely the way to go for the last trimester! Maybe these full-on shots will prep you for what I look like when we have a future meet-up :)

    QFFS - Thank you so much! It just takes a little practice, I promise! I only started crafting in mid 2010 :) I'll have to try the closed-mouth smile so that I look friendly rather than grumpy!

    Cee - I definitely love the gray and yellow combo best but I ran out of yellow tees LOL. I'm a tired and absent-minded preggy, I'll have to ask hubby if he thinks I'm grumpy - I can't tell! :D

  19. Elaine - Aww, thanks so much! Do you have any family members / friends who sew? My mom showed me :)

    Jessy - :D I'd never imagine that you didn't know what to do with your face - your pics always turn out so beautifully!

    Michelle - Thank you!! :)

    Francesca - Thank you, you are such a sweetheart to me! :)

    Lisa - Thank you! My goal is to definitely be able to reuse/rewear most everything I made during my pregnancy. We'll see what happens ;)

    Kileen - Thank you! Like Jessy, I would have never guessed because your pictures always look so great! Your smile is gorgeous by the way!

    Anna - Congrats on med school! That's awesome! I think it depends on specific company re R&D, in my pharma years, we did method development and validation so once we finished (took a few weeks), we moved on to a different product. But I agree, I wouldn't be able to do traditional research. I think you'd have to be very passionate about what you're anticipating as the end result.

  20. Hehehe, what takes you 45 minutes might take me a day!! =P I look forward to trying this DIY out as well! I still have your previous project open in one of my browser tabs! And, as everyone agreed, smiling is a great option! It's contagious! :D

  21. Great post! I've never tried sewing (I'm hardly handy), but it's posts like this that make me think it's simple enough for a try. The end result is great too!


  22. LePetiteLemon - You should definitely try this one - it's such a great way to reuse existing tees you don't wear (or hubby doesn't wear)! I'm going to have to try a bunch of different things - I can be a tad self-conscious about my smile :)

    Sabrina - Thanks for stopping by and commenting! You should give it a shot and let me know how it goes :)

  23. I just did something similar with some old dresses and a tee to make a maxi dress. Took me a lot longer than 45 minutes though. lol Mine is cobalt blue on top, then black, then teal and then black again on the very bottom.

  24. Thanks for this great idea. I've just made a dress for me, with sky blue on top, then grey, then cobalt blue. You can see it on my blog : See You !

  25. I've got tons a t shirts to use up. This is great. I can't wait to try it.

  26. I have been shopping and purchasing cotton material for quilts for a while now, but am going to look for some knit in my stock. If none, I plan on using a few old tees of mine and my husbands, but as short as I am 4"10," I'm betting only two color blocks or three very short blocks will work! May I ask how tall the "petite" ladies are? You ladies certainly look tall in the pictures shown!

    1. Hello! I'm 5'2", so just a tiny bit taller. Do you have a dress length you like right now? Perhaps measure that and divide by 3 (or 2)?

  27. I did something similar, my daughter wanted to go as Scooby-Doo's Daphney for Halloween, but I couldn't find any purple dresses to modify, or purple knit fabric. Went to Walmart, bought a $5 purple T that fit my daughter on top, then bought and XL T--cut the top off the XL and sewed it to the bottom of the first T, sewed pink sash around it and it was perfect! The next year I did the same for a costume for Harley Quinn. Recycled T's are even cheaper.

    1. Thanks for sharing! I never thought of doing this for Halloween - that's a great idea!


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